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Setup is as follows:

  • Our agency's client's domain is https://www.example.com (with SSL certificate from Amazon)
  • They have NGINX severs, and manage their own hosting
  • They want us to build a few simple pages on example.com/jenny but want us to host the content on another web server and not involve their developers
  • It's been a while since I've worked with servers and WordPress

My plan is:

  • Buy some webspace (e.g. on CloudWays) and install WordPress on it to host a few pages
  • Have our agency's client set up a reverse proxy from their subdirectory (example.com/jenny) to our server's IP address (e.g. 86.7.53.09)
  • CloudWays includes 1-click install of free SSL certificates (e.g. Let's Encrypt)

Problem and question is:

  1. Is this going to work?
  2. Will we even be able to set up an SSL certificate on an IP address without a domain name and then have it work with our client's domain name?

I'm concerned that the certificates will change as the user goes from the main site to our subdirectory and they'll get a notification in their browser, or they will cause a conflict.

  • It would be much simpler if the client is willing to accept a subdomain - jenny.example.com. SSL will work for sure that way and you won't have to mess with a reverse proxy. – WebElaine Jul 25 '18 at 18:28
  • @WebElaine, thanks for your reply. Agreed, however subdomain isn't an option in this case (SEO purposes, and having continuity with the site). – Baumr Jul 26 '18 at 13:29
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The visitor would never know that the subdirectory is hosted elsewhere. They are only connecting to the main server for the web page, and that's the server which serves the SSL.

When the client connects, they connect to wherever www.example.com resolves, and that is where they send the HTTPS request, and that is what serves the the SSL. On that server, it just happens to get the content from some pages from directories on the server itself, and for other pages, it makes an entirely separate connection, just between itself and your server.

There is a separate consideration of whether you are going to have an SSL for the www.example.com server to connect to your server, but this would not be anything the visitor would see, and would not in any way affect the way they interact with the website's SSL.

  • Thanks for your reply! So, with that in mind, we probably don't need to set up an SSL certificate on our server with CloudWays (e.g. accessible from http://86.7.53.09), right? As the visitor will be protected anyway via SSL on https://www.example.com/jenny? – Baumr Jul 26 '18 at 13:34
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    That is correct. The only reason to set up an SSL there would be to encrypt traffic between the two serves. That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but most MitM attacks are done on local networks, and you'd have to find a hostname to use, etc. So, it's certainly less of a need, and it wouldn't affect the website visitors. – DKing Jul 26 '18 at 22:02

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